What's the deal with Hydration and the Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. These muscles play a crucial role in controlling urine and bowel movements, as well as sexual function. Many factors can affect the health and strength of the pelvic floor, including pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and aging. However, there is a common misconception that if you drink to much water you won’t be able to hold your urine. There are also misconceptions that some people have “small bladders”.
The Importance of Water for Pelvic Floor Health
Firstly, it is essential to understand the importance of water for overall health and wellbeing, including pelvic floor health. The body is composed mostly of water, and every cell, tissue, and organ depends on it to function correctly. Water helps regulate body temperature, transport nutrients, remove waste, and lubricate joints. Staying hydrated is particularly crucial for the urinary system, which includes the bladder and urethra. Drinking enough water can help flush out bacteria and toxins that can cause urinary tract infections and bladder irritation.
Additionally, water can help prevent constipation, which is a common issue that can put pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. When stool stays in the colon for too long, it can become hard and difficult to pass, leading to straining during bowel movements. This straining can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time, leading to conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.
Myth: Drinking Water Can Weaken the Pelvic Floor
Now, let's address the myth that drinking water can weaken the pelvic floor. The idea behind this myth is that consuming too much water can increase the volume of urine in the bladder, leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom. Over time, this increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles can cause them to weaken and stretch.
While it is true that holding urine for prolonged periods can put pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, drinking water in moderation is unlikely to cause any harm. In fact, staying hydrated can actually help support the pelvic floor muscles by keeping them healthy and elastic. Dehydration can lead to constipation, which, as mentioned earlier, can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
Tips for Maintaining Pelvic Floor Health
Here are some tips for maintaining pelvic floor health:
Drink enough water to stay hydrated and prevent constipation.
Avoid holding urine for too long and go to the bathroom when you need to.
Practice pelvic floor exercises should be incorporated into a comprehensive exercise program, to strengthen the muscles.
In conclusion, drinking water is not harmful to the pelvic floor muscles. On the contrary, staying hydrated can help prevent constipation and support the health and elasticity of the muscles. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate hydration can help prevent pelvic floor issues and improve overall wellbeing. If you experience any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence or pelvic pain, call for a free 15 minute phone consultation to see how pelvic floor PT may be able to help you learn to LOVE PELVIC HEALTH.
Dr. Jasmine Polk, PT,DPT